National R&D Council chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel has revealed that, two weeks ago, Syria tried and failed to launch a cyber attack on Haifa's water system. Speaking at the Shabatarbut Beersheva festival, he said that the attack was by the Syrian Electronic Army. Ben-Israel, who established Israel's cyber defense system, said that that hundreds of attacks were made every minute against Israel's critical infrastructures, such as the electricity grid, water, Israel Railways, and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). He cited a study by Kasperky Lab, which said, "There are 200,000 new viruses every day.
Commenting on Israeli concern that Syrian chemical weapons would end up in terrorists' hands, Ben-Israel said, "So long as we face Syria, there is equilibrium and everyone knows the balance of forces. Even if they have sophisticated weapons, they think eight times before using them." He said that Israel was not worried about the missiles, but, "our problem is the transfer of arms to other parties, first to Hezbollah, and second, Syria is disintegrating, and the question is, who will get their hands on these weapons."
Ben-Israel said that the Syrian regime has possessed chemical weapons for decades, and that President Assad never used them for fear of a painful response. "Assad is afraid of Israel, which could deliver him a far more painful blow. This fear disappears if the weapons are transferred to any organization."
Commenting on the Iranian threat, Ben-Israel said that it could develop an atomic bomb within months. "The Iranians are smart and skilled, which should not be ridiculed. They can already make military grade enriched uranium, and they need a few months to reach the first bomb," he said, adding that the Iranians have not done so because of concern of a US or Israeli strike. "The whole world is on their case. If they push the button and create full enrichment, their facilities will be blown up. So long as they don’t do it, this situation could last for a 100 years."
As for the possibility of a US attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Ben-Israel said that he believes US President Barack Obama. "The Americans have the means to do what Israel can't, launch a prolonged war with Iran, including aerial bombardment. The US also has no interest in Iran developing a nuclear bomb, which is why it's in their interest to attack there."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 26, 2013
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